Art with Alyssa: Skeleton Craft for Día de los Muertos

skeletons 2445

Skeletons (or calacas) seen during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) often represent the happy afterlife of loved ones who have passed away. The skeletons are whimsical, fun and are usually shown doing normal everyday activities. Here’s how to make a skeleton craft using cotton swabs or white chenille stems—a fun Day of the Dead craft for kids and families.

Supplies

Black construction paper
17 Cotton swabs (or substitute white chenille stems/pipe cleaners)
Scissors
White paper scraps
Colored paper scraps
Pencil
Markers 
White glue or hot glue
Optional: crayons or oil pastels

Directions

  1. For the ribs, cut four cotton swabs in half. 
  2. For the sternum, place one full swab vertically in the top third of the black paper. 
  3. Add the rib cage by arranging four swabs with the puffy sides facing out on each side of the full swab. (see photo)
  4. Cut two swabs in half for the arms, arrange on either side of the top ribs.
  5. Cut five swabs in half for fingers. Cut two of those half swabs shorter than the rest for the thumbs. Arrange at the end of the arms. 
  6. Use two full-length swabs for each leg. Arrange at the bottom of the sternum.
  7. For the feet, cut one swab in half and place one half at the end of each leg. 
  8. For the head, draw a skull shape on a scrap of white paper, draw two black dots for eyes, an upside-down heart for the nose and a curved line with perpendicular lines for the mouth and teeth. (see photo)
  9. Arrange arms, legs, and other parts until you have an arrangement you like. Glue in place with white or hot glue. Allow to dry. 
  10. Create accessories with scrap paper, such as a hat, bow or a flower crown or fancy hat for La Catrina.
  11. Around the edge of the black paper, arrange and glue one-inch squares of colorful paper or draw shapes with oil pastel or crayons. 

Explore More with Kids Books about Día de los Muertos:

  • Day of the Dead by Greg Paprocki
  • La Catrina: Emotions – Emociones by Patty Rodriguez 
  • Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez & Erich Haeger 

Alyssa Navapanich is a nationally recognized art educator who teaches art to elementary school kids in East San Diego County. She is the author of San Diego Family Magazine’s “Art with Alyssa” column.

_____________

Halloween Bingo Scavenger Hunt

Halloween Bingo Scavenger Hunt

It’s not bingo, and it’s not a traditional scavenger hunt, it’s a Halloween bingo scavenger hunt! Get the kids together for a Halloween party and walk (or drive) the neighborhood, looking at H . . .

Read more

DIY Halloween Treats

DIY Halloween Treats

These not-so-spooky treats are sure to delight your child’s friends, neighbors and classmates. Click the links below to download FREE printable bag toppers for Spooky S'mores, Jack-o-Lantern Teeth a . . .

Read more

13 Halloween Party Games for Kids

13 Halloween Party Games for Kids

Host the best kid’s Halloween party with these lucky (or unlucky) 13 games.Planning a Halloween party for the kids? Here are fun party games that thrill trick-or-treaters of all ages. Need an extr . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Mini Halloween Piñatas

Art with Alyssa: Mini Halloween Piñatas

As an art teacher, I love connecting arts & crafts to literature and recycling. This Halloween craft is a great way to repurpose cardboard toilet paper tubes. If you want to link your mini piña . . .

Read more

Greedy Ghosts Game

Greedy Ghosts Game

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy? Toss it into the open mouths of these three greedy ghosts, and it becomes a fun game for one or a whole party! Supplies: Cardboard box (at least 1 . . .

Read more

Beastly Bags for Halloween

Beastly Bags for Halloween

Use paper bags and craft scraps to scare up some spooky decorations this Halloween! Supplies: Brown or colored paper bagScraps of paper, yarn, fabric, craft foam or feltAssorted buttons, bottle c . . .

Read more

Tissue Box Lanterns

Tissue Box Lanterns

How can you turn a sneezy, sniffly nose into something fun? Save that empty tissue box and craft a cute and creepy Halloween lantern! The easy technique of papier-mâché and a little imagination ar . . .

Read more

Make a Ghostbusters Ghost Trap

Make a Ghostbusters Ghost Trap

With next year’s premiere of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (March 2021) why not have a little Ghostbusters fun making ghost traps? This recyclable project requires toilet paper tubes and shipping . . .

Read more

How to Make Candy Land Yard Decorations

How to Make Candy Land Yard Decorations

These pop art candy decorations were made to create an amazing Candy Land-themed house in Clairemont Mesa (San Diego). They’re inexpensive to make and have multiple uses as they can also be used a . . .

Read more

Halloween Door Decorations for Families

Halloween Door Decorations for Families

Whether decorating at home or school, our Halloween doors are to “DIY” for! Not very crafty? Try the “mummy and me” door for beginners. More experienced crafters can try our “fear the waking . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Halloween Tabletop Cornhole

Art with Alyssa: Halloween Tabletop Cornhole

This DIY Halloween craft offers lots of room for creativity, such as creating beanbags and cornhole boards inspired by your favorite characters. As an art teacher, I love connecting arts & craft . . .

Read more

Día de los Muertos Door Decoration for Families

Día de los Muertos Door Decoration for Families

Whether decorating at home or for your child’s classroom, our Día de los Muertos door decoration is sure to make your guests (or students) feel welcome. Click here for instructions on how . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Dia de los Muertos Nichos

Art with Alyssa: Dia de los Muertos Nichos

Celebrate Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) by creating a personal nicho. A nicho is a small shadow box filled with items that are special to the person who creates it (small photos of . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Skeleton Craft for Día de los Muertos

Art with Alyssa: Skeleton Craft for Día de los Muertos

Skeletons (or calacas) seen during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) often represent the happy afterlife of loved ones who have passed away. The skeletons are whimsical, fun and are usually show . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Skull Craft for Dia de los Muertos

Art with Alyssa: Skull Craft for Dia de los Muertos

Create a beautiful calavera (skull, in English) to celebrate Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Traditionally, skulls are created out of sugar or clay, elaborately decorated and place . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!